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Thread: The College Process

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    Ready? haejin's Avatar
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    The College Process

    Well, the process of getting into college has recently become for me something that's very, very real. I'm currently a junior in high school, and this morning I took the SAT for the second and last time. At school, I'm working on a preliminary list of colleges with my college counselor. I've already visited several colleges, and my school hosted its college fair last Monday. Of course, the work, in general, never seems to stop. I've had a year full of ups and downs, as they say. Oh! and AP week starts on Monday.

    Anyway, how was your experience with applying to college? Is there anything you wish you had done differently? How do you think the college process has changed since you were in high school (regardless of how long ago that may have been)? What about your experience observing your peers/etc "grappling" with the college process? A lot of questions, but I thought this would be a good way to generate some interesting discussion (especially coming back from my long FORT hiatus ), and I'm sure some of that discussion is relevant to other younger FORT members.
    Gustav Holst was right!

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    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    Hi Hae Jin, and wow--it's been a long time since I applied to colleges. I applied to two--one state school, and a private university and I got into both, and attended the latter. It was hard--way harder than h.s. for me (I had gotten all A's and taken AP classes so I thought I was a smartie pants--college proved that I was competing with kids just like me, and many who were way smarter than me!).

    I think it's actually more difficult to get into good schools today. My friend's son--who has straight A's and got almost perfect SAT scores and is on a bunch of sports teams--didn't get into some schools that I thought were slam dunks for him. And he is way smarter than most adults I know (myself included).

    And tuition is way over inflated these days--so it's way more expensive--even with cost of living increases in mind--than during my era. I actually enjoyed my college time very much. I do regret that I didn't take more classes that I wanted to. Instead, I took all the classes I was supposed to. If I had to do it all over again, I'd try to balance that class load better. I also was so anxious to "get out in the world," so to speak, that I graduated a year early. In retrospect, I wish I had stayed on campus a year longer -- and maybe taken those classes I wanted to then.

    Sounds like you're doing everything right. Have a great time, no matter which school you select!

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    Re: The College Process

    Great subject! I think it should be a required PARENTING class instead of Lamaze.
    Anyone that is looking at college, keep in mind that you have pay back student loans. And even though they are low interest and not due until after you graduate (unless you quit), you still have to pay them.
    And then depending on the amount due, it can keep you from being able to buy a car or a home.

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    Re: The College Process

    I think one of the huge things is that many students aren't ready for it. I remember there was a lot of partying and not a lot of studying going on and suffering grades because of it. I took a break and went back and was more focused and eventually graduated with 2 Bachelors and a 3.95 GPA. So for me the biggest thing is to make sure the teenager is ready for it. I don't mean academically, I mean emotionally and maturity level. It's going from a parent or a teacher forcing you to hit the books to having sole responsibility and accountability and some people just don't know what to do with that amount of freedom.

    Another thing is I highly recommend staying close to home and attending a community college, the cost of education is so high now as is the cost of living out of the home. Why not get your first two years done where rent and food is still free and the tuition is less? (that is a question in general and NOT directed towards you since I don't know you or your situation)

    Student loans....I owe over 50K and that's even after a GI bill and Vocational Rehab from the military (they paid for one degree and the GI bill paid for the other but I used the student loans to live off while attending school....HUGE mistake.....advice? Pay them off before they come due if you can afford to do that...wish I had in hind sight). Also read somewhere that with more and more students defaulting on their student loans that its getting harder and harder to obtain financial aid, that makes me sad because I do feel that everybody who wants a college education should be able to get one.

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    Resident curmudgeon Newfherder's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    Quote Originally Posted by Lois Lane;2966657;
    And tuition is way over inflated these days--so it's way more expensive--even with cost of living increases in mind--than during my era.
    Amen to that! I paid for my first two years of college by working ten months at a minimum wage job. I lived at home, used public transportation and/or my bicycle to commute, and watched my money as best I could. I pinched pennies so hard, Ebeneezer Scrooge sent me fan mail. I can't imagine that the minimum wage has kept up with tution increases.

    The final two years were paid for by Uncle Sam, through Social Security survivor benefits--Dad passed away my sophomore year. I don't recommend that as a way to pay for college
    "The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination."
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    Mixing Old Fashioneds PhoneGrrrl's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    Haejin, when I applied to college, I "on a lark" applied to a couple of small liberal arts colleges in addition to the one I really wanted to attend. I got the opportunity to go to the smaller colleges for scholarship interviews and fell in love with the one I ended up attending. It ended up a much better fit for me--further away from home, no one from high school that I knew (let's just say I'm not one who romanticizes the high school experience), and an excellent program in my major. So my advice would be to definitely visit all the colleges or universities that you may want to consider and keep an open mind. Second, since you say you're taking AP tests, they you are going to want to be on the look out for scholarship opportunities based on your superb accademics. Of course, there's always the scholarships that are attached to the school but there are odd little ones too. Your counselor should have a list and there's probably some on-line resources these days too. When I was applying, these weird (like from Wal-Mart and the local Coke bottling plant) little scholarship aps weren't due until senior year, so it's not something you need to fret right this minute, but you could start the research. The dollar amount may not be all that great but the extra cash comes in handy for books and living expenses.

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    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    Quote Originally Posted by Newfherder;2967204;
    The final two years were paid for by Uncle Sam, through Social Security survivor benefits--Dad passed away my sophomore year. I don't recommend that as a way to pay for college
    Oh Newf, that's horrible. You were so young when your dad passed away... I can't imagine dealing with that grief at that age. I was about twice your age when my father passed away and it was almost too much to bear--and I was an adult!!

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    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    My experience (in the 70's) was a little different. I finished high school a year early but was required to take a class my "senior" year to stay enrolled. I arranged with the science teacher to be a lab assistant without showing up more than once or twice. Meanwhile I took classes at a nearby college for credit, but without enrolling as a full-time student (lived at home). Then the second semester I "transferred" to another college full-time. So I never had to do any of the application process my kids (and you) are going through. By the way, if you take one semester off like that and apply to start in January, you'll have better luck getting in your school of choice. Lots of people drop out after their first semester so there are openings. Of course that wouldn't work with some scholarships. Anyhoo - my oldest daughter got all A's in HS, knew exactly what she wanted to do, and got a full scholarship. Unfortunately being a flight science major (pilot) it didn't cover air time, so she ended up with huge loans anyway. My son had no idea what he wanted to study, went to the most generic (huge) state school and is finding his way quite nicely now toward the end of his sophomore year. Now my youngest is a junior and going through the same process as you. She has an idea what she wants to do, but no idea where she wants to go. She spends lots of time on the internet checking out different schools and has a new favorite every week. Good luck!
    Count your blessings!

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    MRD
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    Re: The College Process

    Also, if you are willing to start college in the summer immediately after graduation, sometimes you can get in schools like Gut said that otherwise might be full in the fall semester. I was accepted to all 3 schools I applied too, but the one I went too, told me that I either had to start in June or January, so I picked June.

    I had a dear friend that treated school just like a job. She "worked" it 8-5, 5 days a week. This included her classes and study time. She did have to study occasionally at nights and on weekends, but her treating that time everyday, every week really worked well for her. She was already programmed to be an 8-5 worker and she really stuck to that schedule and so was therefore free in the evenings and weekends to have fun or work or whatever because she got all her studying and papers done during her "work" hours.

    Student loans are not all that bad. It does give people a way to go to school that might not be able to afford it otherwise. Loans are fixed rate, low interest and as long as you are paying them, they should not affect your credit. We just went through all this recently with both me and my daughter. And while I'd like to avoid the student loans all togehter, it is impossible at this time to do so.

    The other thing I have to say is that you should stay in school and finish while you are still young and single. I am now 46 and am going back to school and while I am much more mature, it's also a lot harder now because of life/family, etc.
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    Best Buddies Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: The College Process

    Quote Originally Posted by myrosiedog;2967583;
    I was accepted to all 3 schools I applied too, but the one I went too, told me that I either had to start in June or January, so I picked June.
    Congratulations MRD! I absolutely LOVED going back to school as an adult. One summer session I took two courses ("Disability in Literature" and "Poetry") both of which requried a lot of reading and writing. I worked 24/7 and loved every minute of it. It really pushed the envelope of what I thought I was capable of. The teacher wanted me to publish my disability paper and my poetry teacher said my sonnet in particular would fool anyone that it was professional. This summer I'll be taking a course on mask-making related to many cultures.
    Count your blessings!

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